Poetry Challenge #88-What They Said . . .

I am a shameless eavesdropper. So bad in fact, that I’ll often shush Curtis (who does not talk much anyway) so I can focus on other diner’s conversations. Yes, I’m that bad…

New Haven Train Sign

Which may be why an old sing-along-in-the-car song, called Humoresque aka Passengers Will Please Refrain, has long been one of my favorites. Set to the tune of Dvořák's Humoresque Number 7 it’s begins with a New Haven Railroad toilet sign ends with If Sherman’s horse can stand it so can you and in between are snippets of conversation.  

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and Yale law professor Thurman Arnold take full credit for the “Bawdy Song.”  In his autobiography, Go East, Young Man (pp. 171–72), Douglas notes, "Thurman and I got the idea of putting these memorable words to music, and Thurman quickly came up with the musical refrain from Humoresque."  Because I know you’re curious, here are the abridged lyrics:

Passengers will please refrain
From flushing toilets while the train
Is in the station. Darling, I love you!
We encourage constipation
While the train is in the station
Moonlight always makes me think of you.
If the woman’s room be taken,
Never feel the least forsaken,
Never show a sign of sad defeat.
Try the men’s room in the hall,
And if some man has had the call,
He’ll courteously relinquish you his seat.
If these efforts all are vain,
Then simply break a window pane-
This novel method used by very few.
We go strolling through the park
Goosing statues in the dark,
If Sherman’s horse can take it, why can’t you?
— https://lyricstranslate.com/en/oscar-brand-humoresque-passengers-will-please-refrain-lyrics.htm
Your Poem Could Be A Song, too!

Your Poem Could Be A Song, too!

Poetry Challenge #88

What They Said . . .

Go somewhere crowded (preferably public) with a pen and paper. Jot down snippets of conversations. Or. If you can’t do that, brainstorm greetings—all the ways/languages/terms we use to say hello, goodbye or thank you. Arrange and rearrange the terms to create a poem with a melodic, interesting—maybe surprising order. Title your poem “Conversations” with the location and date. For example: Conversations at Starbucks May 22.

Go Forth and Eavesdrop.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 3 years ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #87-How's This for an Idea?

thinking-outside-the-box.jpg

Sometimes, my head is full of ideas. But sometimes . . . At those times a little prompting is in order.

Poetry Challenge #87

How’s This for an Idea?

Choose one of the prompts below as your first line and write as fast as you can. If you get stuck, try another prompt. Or: How’s this for an idea: Write a 4 line poem using each prompt for one of the lines.

  • No one knows I’m here…

  • Here’s a neat idea…

  • I’m scared of…

  • I wish I could remember…

Pick a Prompt

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 3 years ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #81 Don't Bother Checking Twice

Santa still snoozing at some sunny warm spa, recovering after the busy holiday season. So, while he’s otherwise occupied, no need to bother about checking twice—unless it’s to be sure you have ink/lead in your writing implement of choice—thus clearing the way for this prompt:

Poetry Challenge #81

Make a List

Although at first glance you might not notice, soooo many poems are list poems: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I Love Thee”, Billy Collins’ “Bread and Knife,” Shel Silverstein’s “Eighteen Flavors” to name a few.

In a list poem, you can list things you like (animals, colors, kinds of cars, playground games), signs of a season, tasks you have to do, items in a category, or what you’re going to do today.

Once you have your list, play with the order.

Choose better words that sound the same (maybe rhyme, or use alliteration).

Can you make the poem sound like it has an ending? 

Try writing a list poem. What are your plans for the day today? Or use one of the ideas above.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1100-ish days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #80-Scribble Something

Really, would the tike in this pic do a naughty thing like that?

My love of writing can be traced back to when I was two-ish. As the story goes, I used my mom’s black mascara and lipstick to write on the neighbor's car! (And maybe blamed it on my brother… although he says I blamed it on him.) Nevertheless, a scribble is a scribble, and so we celebrate:

Poetry Challenge #80

Scribble Something

In honor of National Scribble Day* celebrated every March 27th,  scratch around for something colorful to write with: crayons, markers, colored pencils . . . lipstick—whatever you can find—and a piece of paper. Hold the writing implement in your non-dominant hand, close your eyes, take a deep breath and focus on whatever comes to mind. Then open your eyes and scribble—preferably on the paper.

A Nothing Scribble--or not…

Try scribbling whatever came to mind. if it was nothing, then scribble nothing. Scribble with 2-year-old abandon for as long as you can—at least 30 seconds.

Now, hold your scribble arm’s length away. While squinting like an artist (a beret might come in handy here), look beyond your scribble to what you drew. Write a poem about it.

*Not to be confused with National Crayon Day (March 31st).

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Scribble Resources:

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1050 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #79-Fibonacci Awakening

Hurrah! It’s spring! Take a close look at the way the leaves on a plant and petals on a flower grow. Notice how they often grow in a pattern: One in the center; next row 2; third row 3; fourth row 5; fifth row 8 and so on. This pattern, which allows each leaf/petal to have maximum exposure to light and moisture while maintaining a tidy spiral pattern, called is the Golden Ratio, is the Fibonacci Sequence in action! Pure poetry, right! Which leads naturally to today’s prompt:

Fibonacci Sequencing Succulent

Fibonacci Sequencing Succulent

Poetry Challenge #79

Fibonacci Awakening

Number sequences are fun ways to create a form for a poem in that they pose a puzzle without too many rules. You could write a poem with using your phone number, birthday or another important date to determine the number of words or syllables on each line. For instance, this year the first day of spring is March 20th or 3202019 which would be kind of weird or maybe fun as the zeros could be stanza breaks. Get mathematical and write a poem based on the first six digits of pi: 314159, or have some spring fun with Fibonacci.

A Fibonacci sequence begins with 0 and 1. Each number is the sum of the two previous numbers. The third number would be 0+1=1. The fourth number is 1+1=2. And so on.

Write a poem matching the number of syllables or words on each line with the first six numbers in the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8.

In celebration of Spring Awakening, let the theme of your poem be Springish!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

When you finish step outside and find the Fibonacci Busting out all over!

If the Fibonacci has you fired up for More MATH! Here’s a fab Math Challenge game!

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1050 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #78-Little Bit of Bloomin' Luck

With a little bit of Bloomin’ Luck!” Alfred P. Doolittle sings in My Fair Lady. I know exactly how he feels! Who doesn’t wish for a little bit more luck—bloomin’ or otherwise. That’s what makes Saint Patrick’s Day, one of my favorite holidays. Four leaf clovers, horseshoes, pots-of-gold, lepraucauns, jigs, lucky charms and wearing green, it’s all about conjuring up luck and having fun while you’re at it. St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday, March 17th, let’s celebrate by writing some lucky poems to celebrate.

Poetry Challenge #78

Little Bit of Bloomin’ Luck

If you had a bit of “bloomin’ luck what would it be? What would you do with a lucky charm? Write a poem about it. Here’s a list of St. Patrick’s day related words. See how many you can use in your poem:

Bagpipe, banshee, blarney, blarney stone, bog, brogue, celebrate, Celtic, clover, coins, donnybrook, emerald green, Emerald Isle, fortune, four-leaf clover, gold, good luck, green, harp, Ireland, Irish, jig, legend, leprechaun, limerick, , luck of the Irish, lucky, magic, March, mischief, pot of gold, potato, rainbow, Saint Patrick, shamrock, shillelagh, snake, St. Paddy's Day, St. Patrick

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

When you’re finished, read your poem aloud—maybe a leprechaun with hear—if you’re lucky!

St. Pat.jpg

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge about 1050 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #77-Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

Sing-Alongs are always challenging—and sometimes embarrassing—even for me. (And those of you who know me, know I love to sing—badly.) The worst is when someone sticks a microphone in my face and I don’t know the words. That’s when I resort to the trusty mumble-mumble-murmer-murmer— la-di-dah-daaaaaaaa

My Best Friend’s Wedding  Classic!

My Best Friend’s Wedding Classic!

Songwriters who like audiences who sing-along— pirate ship captives & those wanting tips, for example—make singing along easier by writing song with repeated refrains—the more often repeated the better. Which brings me to today’s prompt.

Poetry Challenge #77

Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

“The chant poem is about as old as poetry itself,” writes Robert Lee Brewer in his Oct. 23, 2012 post. “Chant poems simply incorporate repetitive lines that form a sort of chant. Each line can repeat [as they do in Blues’ songs], or every other line [as in a Sea Shanty].” Sailors sang shanties as they rowed or heaved on ropes to keep everyone working at the same pace. It’s believed “Shanty” is a morphism of “chanty” meaning both the type of song and a name for the sailor who leads the singing. By way of an example, below is a Chant Poem Cindy created.  

Snow fell this morning, soft and white and cold,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I liked it more before I got so old,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I left the city a long time ago,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

Now I hear sounds of birds—the caws of crows,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.
— --Cindy Faughnan

Follow these three easy steps to create your own Chant Poem—Or “Shanty” if you will! 

  1. Find a headline in a newspaper or magazine that you like the sound of. That will be your chant.

  2. Write a four line rhyming poem where the first 2 lines rhyme and the last 2. AABB

  3. Insert the chant between each line of your rhyming poem and you have a chant poem.

“They know a song will help the job along…”

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1042 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Prompt #76 Thirsty Thursday

Maybe because it’s Thursday.

Maybe because I’m thirsty.

Maybe because water isn’t cutting it, I recollected a play called The Drunkard by William Henry Smith, which brought to mind the song cowboy song Cool, Clear Water, you know the one: “Don’t you listen to him Dan/He’s a devil not a man/and he spreads the burning sand with water/Cool, clear, water….” Thus today’s 7-Minute Poetry Challenge.

Poetry Prompt #76

Thirsty Thursday

Draw inspiration from the title, Thirsty Thursday, write a poem about thirst using as many “th” words as you can throw into it.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Here’s to You! & Your 7-Minute Poem!

When you’re finished reward yourself with a nice tall glass of something cool. Cheers!

Thirsty Thursday Playlist:

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1037 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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